Klamath County Wildlife Viewing Report: December 19

Barn Owl (File Photo)

Barn Owl (File Photo)

Even though the fall migration is largely over, great opportunities still exist for other species which will spend the winter in the Klamath Basin.  Many raptors can be found around agricultural areas including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks.

The Link River trail below Upper Klamath Lake is an excellent place to view many species of wildlife including deer, river otter, muskrat, buffleheads, goldeneye, great-blue heron, and great egret.

Bald eagles migrate from nesting areas to winter here in the Klamath Basin.  They can be found foraging near waterfowl use areas such as Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and agricultural areas in the Lower Basin.


Updated Dec. 19, 2017

Miller Island Unit

More than 95 percent of the area is frozen over at this time.

  • Is open to public use Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. All other days are closed to all entry, except public Rds., parking areas, boat ramp, designated birding trail and designated dog training area.
  • Overnight camping is not allowed.
  • A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is now required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $10 daily or $30 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license; just be sure to put it on your dashboard. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.


Cold temperatures have frozen over most of Miller Island, however some duck species can still be found on the Klamath River or if temperatures warm on the Miller Island Unit’s ponds and wetlands. Flocks of western Canada Geese can be found scattered across the area.  

Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds

Great blue herons and American bitterns can be seen scattered around the area.

Gull numbers have declined over the past week, but the occasional ring-billed and Franklin’s gulls may still be found.

Grebe species and numbers have declined significantly, but the occasional one may still be found in an open area in the ice.

American coot may still be found on the areas few remaining pockets of open water, but their numbers have dropped off. Virginia rails and soras can be heard throughout the area, but can be hard to spot.


Great horned and barn owls can be seen at dusk. Red-tailed hawks, Rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, cooper hawks, American kestrels, prairie and peregrine falcons can all be seen foraging throughout the wildlife area. A red-shouldered hawk was observed around the HQ area this past week. Eagle use continues to increase on the area.

Upland Game Birds

California quail and ring-necked pheasant can be found scattered around the old homesteads and the headquarters area.


Mourning and Eurasian collared doves can be found scattered over the area.

American and lesser goldfinches, house finches, American robins, spotted towhees, black-billed magpies, scrub jays, western meadow larks, brewers blackbirds and Northern flickers continue to be a common site throughout the area. The occasional horned lark and American pipits can be spotted on the wildlife areas agricultural fields. Marsh wrens and song sparrows can be found in dense stands of tall emergent hard stem bulrush and broad-leaf cattail. White-crowned and golden crowned sparrows and dark eyed juncos are now a common site on the area. Black Phoebe can be observed along the river in the trees and willows

Shrike can sometimes be found using the shrub dominated uplands of the Southern part of Miller Island.

Belted kingfishers can be located perched in trees overlooking water.

Common ravens are quite numerous at this time.


Muskrat are very common and easily observed this time of year. Beaver, River Otter, Mink, Long-Tailed Weasel, Coyotes, Stripped Skunk and Raccoon may also be observed using the Wildlife Area. Mule deer are also occasionally spotted on the area.

If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5732.